01 June 2011

a wedding quilt

Just in time to celebrate their first anniversary AND the purchase of their house! This is the wedding quilt that I made for my sister and her husband and yes, I did start it almost a year ago. You know how these things go. It was such a daunting project and, once pieced together, such a physically big project that it required taking over full rooms in our apartment (entryway, living room, office) just to work on. I couldn't even tell you all about my sewing adventures because while it wasn't an actual surprise, I still wanted to keep some of the allure and mystery.

I hoped to give it to them the first time I visited their new house, which I thought would be Tuesday night, but then they invited me over for dinner on Monday night and GAH! what is a girl to do when she's crouched over a not-secret-but-maybe-forgotten-about wedding quilt in a 90 degree apartment and the married couple invites her over for BBQ & beers? She picks up a 12-pack and goes, that's what she does.

It was my first quilt so I tried to keep it as simple as I could by using a basic square pattern, a cheerful bundle of fabric (fat quarters, in quilter-speak) from Joel Dewberry's Modern Meadow Collection Sunny Day palette, solid brown cotton backing, pre-made quilt binding and a midweight blend batting inside. I quickly learned that quilting is a really precise art, full of math and spatial reasoning. Those aren't my strongest suits, but I mustered everything I had to pull this thing together. It's not perfect, but it was made with love for a loving couple. And I didn't even cry or throw things while making it, so by all measures this is a success for me.

I embroidered the quilt with their wedding date and two interlocking hearts, using the same font and motif from their wedding invitations and paperie. I'll admit to having practiced this entire design a good three or four times before actually starting the real one. It paid off though, because I think the embroidery looks really awesome. If I may be so bold as to say so. Big thanks to Chris who wisely suggested that practicing might help me (us) avoid a major quilting meltdown. Good call.

Another good call was my choice to finish the quilt using the tying method, rather than machine- or hand-quilting it. For my fellow non-quilters, the basics steps of making a quilt are: 1) cutting your squares (or other shapes), 2) piecing them together into the patchwork quilt top, 3) making the quilt sandwich (top, batting, back), 4) quilting (what you do to keep all of the pieces together and to keep them from shifting around) and 5) attaching the binding. The tying method is really just making little knots with yarn every so often instead of stitching straight or curved lines all over the quilt. It was pretty stress-free, although I did have to use a pair of pliers to pull the needle of yarn through the quilt each time.

And here is the happy couple with their wedding quilt in their new house! Hurrah! Since I'm no expert on quilting and I'm not sure when/if I'll even make another one, I'll just show you were I found some helpful tips, in case you are interested.

  • This Instructables on quilt construction has great pictures and step-by-step help.
  • An article on how to make a large quilt backing from standard 44/45" fabric.
  • Super helpful post on basting your quilt layers together. (She also makes really amazing quilts, the likes of which I can't even aspire to make.)
  • I also YouTubed a lot of videos for various stages, like this one on tying a quilt.

This short week has thrown me off, especially since Sister & I are heading to Connecticut tomorrow for an NKOTBSB show. You read that correctly, we are seeing New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys. I'm so excited that I'm not even ashamed to tell you all about it. I really wish we had kept our NKOTB t-shirts and earrings from back in the day. Or the Joey McIntyre doll. Or our NKOTB board game. Actually, I have quite a haul of BSB things to drag up from middle school, as long as we're confessing our boy band pasts.


  1. WOwie! This is amazing! You never cease to amaze me. The binding, in my opinion, is the hardest part. I made a baby quilt for Edith when she was first born (with a little applique sheep on it), but it was so hard, I haven't even bothered trying with Eric. My mom-in-law is a professional quilter (can you imagine!!) and I leave most of the quilting in the family up to her :-)

  2. The quilt is truly beautiful and I'm so proud to display it in our new house...still feels a little unreal to say 'our house.' Thank you to a wonderful sister, sister-in-law, maid-of-honor, and friend. I love you tons!

    Seriously on pins and needles for tomorrow's trip. "All you people can't you see, can't you see N K O T B S B!" *sung while fist pumping*

  3. Sung while pumping our fists in the air and screaming our faces off.

    Dee, the binding was definitely tricky but I used those metal barrettes to hold it in place instead of pins, you know the kind that you just slide in your hair and then press to close? Does that make sense? I thought the piecing was the toughest, because I'm never SUPER precise with my seam allowances or cutting...

  4. Nice Job Christine! All good things are worth waiting for!!

  5. Clarissa KilburnJune 1, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    Amazing job, Christine! What a beautiful and loving gift! I'm sure it will be treasured and enjoyed! Wonderful, simply wonderful! : )


  7. Beautiful! One of my most treasured possessions is the quilt my grandmother made for me whenI was a child. What a great gift, and I love the colors you used.

  8. I don't want to put a damper on your excellent wedding gift but calling it a quilt is not correct. It is a patchwork comforter. Comforters are tied and quilts are hand-stitched or machine-stitched (quilted) through all 3 layers with either a design or following the shape of the blocks or stippled. Just wanted to make the correction about the terminology used. Either one keeps you warm. Most Pioneer women did not have the time to quilt but they did patchwork to use up their scraps or use worn out clothing added the middle layer and backing and then tied the bed cover off making it a comforter.


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